Monday, December 5, 2016

Cobaya Byblos with Chef Stuart Cameron 11.2.16

Cobaya Miami "Experiment" #66 went down on November 2, 2016 at Byblos, the sharp looking Eastern Mediterranean spot located at the old Shorecrest Hotel on Collins Avenue in South Beach.

As I've confessed before, I'm always excited and nervous the night of a Cobaya dinner. The menu, flavors, execution and happy guinea pigs weigh heavily on my mind. But I was more intrigued than nervous for this one because despite 65 "experiments" we had never traveled down the Mediterranean road before. A cuisine that is hot right now thanks to modern interpretations from award winning chefs like Alon Shaya and Mike Solomonov. We were also fortunate to have a successful and talented chef with an interesting and diverse background cooking for us that night.

In the Cobaya Kitchen was Chef Stuart Cameron. Born, raised and culinarily trained in Lebanon, Israel Australia. Okay, I was a little nervous that night... In addition to cooking Australian and Mediterranean fare, chef Cameron has also successfully specialized in Italian and Spanish cuisine while running popular kitchens in Rome and Barcelona Toronto. Okay, I should have been a little nervous... He is currently the executive chef for the growing Toronto hospitality group, Icon Legacy where he is responsible for the menus and kitchens at several restaurants including Byblos Toronto and Miami as well as Patria, Weslodge and Storys. And he was on his way to Dubai after Cobaya to prepare for the upcoming Byblos Dubai.

Chef Cameron and his team including his chef de cuisine, Nelson Fernandez delivered an excellent meal from start to finish. The menu stayed true to Byblos' form but featured numerous dishes not found on their extensive daily menu along with some twists.  Guinea Pigs at my table visibly enjoyed each course and were excited for more. And people left happy.  Why? Because execution was tight and their flavors were right. Nothing served was heavy handed and the unique ingredients, spices and flavor combinations were a delight.  Highlights for me included cotton candy foie gras, grass fed beef tartare with house-made Barbari bread, outstanding lobster manti and a wonderful Mejadra.

I'm looking forward to going back to Byblos and exploring more of Chef Cameron's menu and I think you should pay a visit too.

Big thanks to Chef Cameron for flying down from Toronto to take part in one of our "underground experiments" and his entire kitchen crew for a fun and tasty night.  To general manager Seko Sener and the front of the house for super service and to Kimberly Nolan for spreading the Cobaya word to Stuart and Byblos and Alexandra Fulton for making sure it went down.  And HUGE thanks to the passionate and growing Guniea Pig Nation for your continued loyalty, interest and support.  See you at 67!!!

Foie Gras - Rose Jam, Cotton Candy, Nuts. 

Crispy Artichokes, herb tahini tarator. 

Salmon Nayeh, jalapeño dressing, pickled radish, squid ink chips, green schug.

Grass Fed Steak Tartar, argon oil aioli, mint, red chili, crispy shallot, house-made Barbari bread. 

Manti Dumplings, lobster, yogurt sauce, fennel, paprika butter.

Swordfish, chraime sauce, Persian lime powder & crispy vine leaf.

Cream Spinach Pide, goat cheese, toum, dukkah.

Chef Stuart working hard.

Braised Veal Breast, preserved lemon, Israeli couscous.

Grilled Broccolini, tomato fenugreek sauce, crispy garlic.

Mejadra Rice - lentil, labneh, fried shallots.

Strawberry Cheescake Qatayef, sumac strawberry, honey syrup, pistachio.

Eton Mess - halva parfait, rose meringue, yogurt, sumac & strawberry granita, ajeel crumb.

Byblos Old Fashioned
High West Bourbon, Stolen Rum, Bitters

& House-Blended Sweet Turkish Coffee.

Address: 1545 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Phone: (305) 508-5041

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